10 December 2015

The next big thing... or dead thing?

Lots of poster presentations would benefit from having something that’s hard to show on a static, flat piece of paper. The question becomes how to bring in other elements, like video. People have tried a lot of hacks, several of which I’ve described in this blog. The latest contender? Near field communication (NFC) chips.

Biochem Belle pointed me towards NFC technology, which this article says are meant to pick up where QR codes left off. Basically, NFC chips are a quicklink to the web, like QR codes. The difference is that instead of scanning a code with a phone camera, you tap your phone to a spot.

Belle asked if this could be something used on posters. My gut reaction: no. Or at least, not yet. It’s too new and unfamiliar, not transparent, and takes too much work on the part of the recipient. And what percent of phones are NFC enabled? This 2011 article suggested slightly more than half of phones would have NFC by this year. But I can only find predictions, not actual numbers for right now.

We’ve seen how QR codes are used. A few people using them on posters, but they never really took off as an enhancement to posters. NFC chips don’t seem to solve any of the issues QR codes did.

Having thought about this for a few years now, I think that the digital future of poster presentations is not in things that let you link to other sources, but in lots of big, cheap screens.

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